Southwest Florida mourns captain who died from COVID-19

The state of Florida recorded 105 COVID-19 deaths just today alone. WINK News is putting a face to one of the thousands of lives that have been lost during the pandemic and introducing you to Captain Rick.

Dena Brothers didn’t expect her life to change when she took a trip to Fort Myers a few years ago, but that’s exactly what happened. That’s where she met Rick, the man who would later become her husband.

“I left everything for him to come to Florida. I’m from Chicago originally and now I’m stuck without him,” said Brothers.

Rick Brothers is one of the many victims of coronavirus. Weeks ago, he was doing just fine. Then he came down with flu-like symptoms. Eventually, he had to go to the hospital. That was the last time Dena saw the man she loved.

“I couldn’t really give him a kiss because we were doing it through the mask and he said ‘I love you’ and I said ‘I love you too,'” said Brothers.

Rick Brothers was a popular fishing captain, friend and mentor. Joe Lanktree won’t forget the last conversation he had with Rick. “I just did my first five-year captain renewal and that’s when he gave me a hug and said ‘proud of ya! You’re doing good’ and things like that. He did say I taught you a whole lot,” said Lanktree.

COVID-19 has taken the lives of more than 281,000 Americans, and almost 20,000 of them were Floridians.

“I just know its not how he wanted to go out. He was a darn good captain kind of wish he was still here with us,” Lanktree said.

Dena misses her husband and she wishes there were more people just like him. “I wish there were more people like him because he was so generous,” said Brothers.

His friend says if COVID-19 can get to Captain Rick, it can get to anyone.

Reporter:Zach Oliveri
Writer:Drew Hill
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